California is a no-fault divorce state

If these criteria are met, the couple must then draw up and sign an agreement dividing property and debts. California is what is known as a community property state.

How to get a divorce in California

This means that when two people get married, they are considered a single entity for the purpose of property ownership. Thus, any property or assets that either party earns or acquires during the marriage is considered community property and is owned by both spouses. Likewise, any debt that either party accrues during the marriage is also considered community property. If you have assets or property that you owned before your marriage, or if you receive a gift or inheritance during your marriage, that is separate property and is owned only by you.

Purchases made with separate property are also separate property.

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The spouses can make this decision among themselves if they are able to, or a mediator can help. It will be necessary to assign a monetary value to property for the purpose of dividing it between the spouses.

How to File for No Fault Divorce in California - State Requirements and Documents

An appraisal may be necessary, especially for real estate or items like art or antiques. An accountant or financial expert will typically assess the worth of retirement assets like a k account or an annuity. The couple can also choose to retain joint property after the divorce.

This is sometimes a solution when both spouses want their children to stay in the family home. The court will consider a number of factors when determining how much child support one spouse must pay. These include:. A judge can order child support to cover a number of expenses.

California Divorce Laws - FindLaw

This can include basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, as well as other costs like health insurance, child care, travel costs for visitation and the cost of extracurricular activities. You may have noticed that adultery and other forms of marital misconduct weren't mentioned in this list of factors.


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That's because generally speaking, judges aren't allowed to consider marital misconduct when making decisions about alimony. The purpose of alimony is to simply to make sure that neither spouse falls into poverty when the marriage ends. Alimony isn't meant to punish spouses for bad conduct while they were married.

Why Doesn’t California Allow for Fault-Based Divorce?

There's one exception to this rule. When a spouse has behaved violently in the marriage and been convicted for abusive behavior, then the judge has the power to reduce or even eliminate any alimony that the abusive spouse would otherwise be entitled to receive. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site.

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Learn whether an extramarital affair can impact spousal support in California.

Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Child Custody Child Support. Alimony Divorce and Property. Market Your Law Firm. Lawyer Directory. Search Term. Learn whether an extramarital affair can impact spousal support in California.


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California is a no-fault divorce state. You can get divorced for one of two possible reasons: Your spouse suffers from incurable insanity, or Irreconcilable differences meaning, fundamental disagreements that can't be resolved between you and your spouse have so badly damaged your relationship that it can't be saved.

What is Alimony in California? The final alimony order can take a number of different forms: The judge may conclude that the evidence does not support an award of alimony and deny it altogether. If the judge decides that alimony is warranted, it will be awarded in an amount and for a duration that is just and reasonable, meaning that it should be fair, rational, and fit the facts of the case.

Furthermore, even if your spouse wants to remain married, disagreeing over whether to get divorced in itself reflects the requisite irreconcilability to file for divorce in California. If your spouse has cheated on you or treated you cruelly, it may initially seem strange — and perhaps unfair — that you cannot file for divorce on fault-based grounds. Both of these factors had the potential to present substantial obstacles for a spouse seeking to end an unfaithful marriage. Under the current no-fault statute, no evidence is required, and your spouse cannot seek to prolong your marriage by challenging your grounds for divorce.

While California does not allow for the filing of a divorce on fault-based grounds, marital fault can still impact the divorce process in certain ways.

Evidence of adultery, abandonment, or domestic violence can impact the determination of child custody as well, as the sole focus in California custody matters is on protecting the best interests of the children involved.

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